Friday, December 19, 2008
Any concern that the economic crisis would soften the resolve of the Obama
administration to deal with the sad state of the environment was swept
away today by the choice of Harvard physicist John Holdren to be
presidential science advisor, and Oregon State marine biologist Jane
Lubchenco to head the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric
Administration. Both have battled industry opposition to climate
initiatives. Along with Steve Chu as Secretary of Energy they should form
a powerful block of scientists in the Obama administration. It will
almost certainly be the most influence science has had in the White House
since the Eisenhower administration. But we don't have much time. Let me
tell you what no one else is saying publicly: every step we take to
improve the environment will soon be wiped out by population growth. The
fact is that we are already beyond a sustainable population. We can't
keep talking in terms of reducing the rate of growth. That's the second
The story about science nominees didn't make it into today's early edition
of the NY Times. With a tiny headline and postage stamp-sized head shots,
it was hidden on page A6 of the Wash Post beside an almost full-page
Macy's “parfum” ad. The story that got the attention was that Rick
Warren, pastor of the humongous evangelical Saddleback Church in Orange
County, is going to deliver the inaugural invocation. A Wash Post photo
shows Warren and Barrack Obama with arms around each other's shoulder.
Gays, offended by Warren's opposition to gay marriage, are pissed. But
Warren also opposes plan B, in vitro fertilization, abortion rights and
stem-cell research. Clear-headed humans should all be offended by that.
Every environmental problem is linked to population growth.
While evangelicals make up a little more than a fourth of the adult U.S.
population, Catholics are not far behind. Together they're half the
population. On issues involving human reproduction Catholics and
Evangelicals are close together. There is little hope unless individuals
disagree with the positions of their church. The title of the Vatican
bioethics report is a reminder that President Bush said he vetoed the Stem
Cell Research Enhancement Act in 2006 to protect "the dignity of
embryos." Is it more dignified to be put through a disposal than used in
research (WN 21 Jul 06)?
The second highest official in the FBI, Felt secretly guided reporters to
uncover the Watergate scandal. Conscientious government employees,
willing to risk their careers by leaking information that should be
public, are the last check on government excess
(WN 15 Dec 06) .